Mathur distanced himself from the hoardings, terming them a “conspiracy” and “sin”. In a statement on Sunday, Mathur said that he got to know, through social media, of “a large number of hoardings and posters in Barmer, which have photos of me and the Prime Minister, with a slogan calling for my chief ministership. I criticise it in strong words and believe this is not the handiwork of a party worker.”
The hoardings state: “Bihar chunav jaane do, Om Mathur ko aane do” and “Om Mathur aayenge, khushaal Rajasthan
“The party has given me an important responsibility and my focus is entirely on that. Also, I was on ‘maun vrat’ at my village home for the past 10 days and hence was not in touch with anybody. In my 40 years in politics, neither I nor my supporters have undertaken such a thing. And writing such things alongside a picture of the PM is a sin,” Mathur said.
Considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, Mathur is currently in charge of Uttar Pradesh.
At the height of the Lalit Modi controversy, party circles were rife with speculation about Mathur replacing Raje as CM.
Within party circles, Mathur, a former Rajasthan BJP president, is considered an anti-Raje face. Recently, he met senior party MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari, who was allegedly manhandled and denied entry at a training camp in Sanganer, allegedly by supporters of Jaipur MP Ramcharan Bohra.Tiwari had opposed Raje’s nomination as the party’s CM ahead of the 2013 Assembly polls and is a prominent face in the anti-Raje camp.
Before Raje’s visit to Barmer, hoardings and posters in favour of former party leader Jaswant Singh had surfaced in the district. While Jaswant’s supporters said these were only Dussehra greetings, Barmer police pulled them down only to later accept that they were pulled down due to “confusion”.
Raje’s supporters, in turn, had allegedly burnt Jaswant’s effigies and also put up several hoardings in favour of Raje.
Raje’s three-day Barmer tour ended on Sunday.